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KenGen won’t pay Garsen flood victims

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KenGen MD Rebecca Miano. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • KenGen managing director Rebecca Miano said the power producer will not settle claims as demanded by locals in the constituency because it is not responsible for the recent Tana River floods which displaced people in Garissa.
  • The locals had petitioned parliament for compensation claiming that KenGen had released water from Masinga Dam in April 2018 without adequate notice which caused massive floods.
  • More than 3,000 people were displaced after their homes were flooded following the bursting of Tana River and Nyongoro River banks.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) will not compensate flood victims in Garsen Constituency, dealing a blow to hundreds of families who lost loved ones and properties in the raging waters.

KenGen managing director Rebecca Miano said the power producer will not settle claims as demanded by locals in the constituency because it is not responsible for the recent Tana River floods which displaced people in Garissa.

Ms Miano said that Seven Fork dams naturally overflow when heavy rains are experienced in the Aberdares, the catchment of Tana River which feeds the dams.

The locals had petitioned parliament for compensation claiming that KenGen had released water from Masinga Dam in April 2018 without adequate notice which caused massive floods.

“In light of these circumstances, KenGen is not in a position to compensate those adversely affected by the flooding,” said Ms Miano in an objection letter to Parliament dated July 26, 2021.

More than 3,000 people were displaced after their homes were flooded following the bursting of Tana River and Nyongoro River banks.

The worst affected villages are Chalaluma, Dide Waride and Moa in Witu, Lamu West. Others are Mkunumbi, Hongwe, Marafa, Jericho, Jipendeni, Salama, Lumshi, Zebra, Juhudi, Sinambio, Mavuno and Amkeni.

The residents said their villages were safe until the construction of KenGen dams upstream at Masinga, Kindaruma, Kiambere, Gitaru and Kamburu.

The dams are filled to capacity, hence the flooding downstream after rivers overflowed their banks.

But the power generator says it is not responsible for the villagers' suffering and that the floods were a result of normal flow of water from the dams.

Ms Miano said that to remedy the situation, the Ministry of Energy and KenGen plan to raise Masinga Dam from 1,056.5 to 1058 metres above sea level to increase the dam storage capacity by 187.9MM cubic.

She said this will help increase the volume of water the dam can hold, especially during prolonged rains.

“KenGen has already engaged a consultant to carry out a feasibility study to confirm the viability of the project. If found viable, the company will embark on the project to rise the dam wall,” said Ms Miano.